Christopher Daniels Talks Breaking Into Wrestling, Working For WWE And WCW, Worst Injury, More
Make sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of our interview, where Daniels discussed working for ROH, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk's WWE success, starting with TNA, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff joining TNA, Vince Russo's criticism of him, his TNA departure in 2010 and much more.
Wrestling Inc: Did you grow up as a wrestling fan?
Christopher Daniels: Yeah. I grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina where Fort Bragg is, basically where the Mid Atlantic territories were sort of based out of the Carolinas. So I grew up watching guys like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and the Road Warriors. I got a chance to watch all those guys live. Magnum T.A. and the Rock 'n' Roll Express, the Midnight Express. But yeah, man. My dad took me there, to the Cumberland County Arena, to watch it as a kid and I just stuck with it I guess.
Wrestling Inc: Were you primarily an NWA fan growing up?
Daniels: Yeah I was. I was born in the seventies, so I was watching that stuff, but I wasn't watching closely. But right when I started paying attention to the wrestling rather than just watching it as background noise… cable started coming around too then, so like just as I was watching NWA and getting into all that stuff, all of a sudden I had access to World Class on ESPN and AWA and Mid South and even Tuesday Night Titans on the USA Network. Once cable started coming around, I had a lot of access to a lot of different wrestling, but primarily, the Mid Atlantic stuff is what I sort of fell in love with.
Wrestling Inc: Who were some of your favorites during that era?
Daniels: Definitely Magnum T.A. was my first favorite, and then I really enjoyed the Road Warriors and Sting was definitely a big favorite once he joined into the NWA.
Wrestling Inc: Were you pretty much a wrestling fan the whole time until once you got started?
Daniels: Pretty much. I didn't follow it that much in college. I watched it. I didn't get a chance to go to wrestling as often. I guess there was a period of time that I wasn't the rabid fan that I was as a kid, but I still watched it intermittently and still kept up with it.
Wrestling Inc: What made you decide to get into the business?
Daniels: I graduated college, my degree is in theatre, so I went to Chicago and tried to get into the theatre scene up there, but it was real hard to break in and find paying work. It was real easy to find acting gigs, but I couldn't afford to do it for free and there wasn't a whole lot of stuff that I was really paying, basically waiting tables and trying to catch a break. I made a joke to my wife that if this acting thing doesn't work out I can always be a pro wrestler, as a joke. She found out about a school that was about thirty minutes from where we lived, and she made the appointment for me. I went in and met the guy, this was Windy City Pro Wrestling, it was in the south side of Chicago, and the guy's name was Sam DeCero. I met him and came out of the building with this look on my face like I was hypnotized or something. I decided to give it a shot.
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